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I had a video interview yesterday and I have a feeling that the following three questions may have been inappropriate to ask. Since this has been mind-boggling, I'm asking for the thoughts of experts here.

During the interview, I was asked about my salary expectation. So I mentioned that I was already aware of the salary range since they published it in the job posting on Indeed. Then I asked the following two questions.

  1. Is there overtime pay? They said there isn't.
  2. How many hours would I be working per week actually. They said I should expect at least two hours of overtime per day; so more than ten hours of overtime per week. However, they mentioned that I may work from home in the evening and night.

Given that I'm unemployed now, I didn't want to shoot a high number. The range itself isn't high; I see that the upper end is just about the average nationwide entry-level salary of my profession on Glassdoor although the average nationwide entry-level salary of my profession on Indeed is just about at the range's midpoint. I have about five years of experience although not exactly in the field they're seeking.

So I just called the lower end number which is about $10k below the average nationwide entry-level salary of my profession on Glassdoor. But I asked the following since I'm expected to overtime at least 10 hours per week and there is no overtime pay.

  1. Can I get one or two extra weeks of vacation? (Maybe I should have clearly expressed that this is a compensation for going low in my salary expectation.)

They explained their vacation policy which is very generous in my opinion. Hence I took back this question and I said I don't need beyond their policy. However, I think it might have left a bad impression. I just wanted to get some compensation for unpaid overtime in the form of vacation after all. If I were to multiply the figure I called by 0.8 (considering it's for 50 hours) to convert it into 40-hour basis, my salary would be $20k below the average entry-level on Glassdoor. But then I'm unemployed for over a year.

As experts, how do you think? Are those three questions no-no to ask during the interview? I just asked them because they asked my salary expectation and I needed the info to call a figure. I asked if they could provide me a figure instead of the range, but they wouldn't. Thank you for your help.


Edited to add: The office is located in the United States, but the company is from one of East Asian countries; CJK to be more specific. (China, Japan or Korea)

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    Sounds like a horror company to me. But what are your priorities? Do you have enough money when not working? Do you enjoy working? Etc. – guest May 12 at 19:09
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    Two hours of unpaid overtime PER DAY? Are you sure you got it right, that it's per day, not per week? Also, we need to know your country for any meaningful help. – Tymoteusz Paul May 12 at 19:09
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    @Tymoteusz Paul: Yes, it's two hours of unpaid overtime per day. This is not unusual in East Asia. I edited the post to mention that the office is in the US but the company is from East Asia. – blob May 12 at 19:27
  • @guest: My priority is building a career. Obviously, I can't continue this unemployed life for a long time. Since I'm single and thrifty, I'm okay for now with some savings. I suspect most people don't enjoy working; we all just need to work cause we need to put bread on the table. – blob May 12 at 19:33
  • These are exactly the questions to be asked in an interview after (!) having talked about the job itself. You need to know the workplace climate before being hired, and they need to know if you're ready to work the way they want you to. I personally wouldn't like 2 hours unpaid overtime daily, but then, I accepted a job offer of one hour more on same pay myself, because I can work from wherever I want.... Clearly your choice, if the rest fits. – Jessica May 13 at 12:22
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Are those three questions no-no to ask during the interview?

You can and should ask any question whose answer is important to you. That's the only way you'll know if this is a job you actually want.

Hopefully, these weren't the only questions you asked. Hiring managers like to see candidates who are interested in the work and the company, and not solely the pay and the benefits.

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    No, those weren't the only questions that I asked. I asked one or two more related to the work before the end of the interview when they asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask. After asking one or two questions, the time was past the scheduled end time so I couldn't ask any further. Those three questions came up during the salary negotiation in the middle of the interview. – blob May 12 at 20:50
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Those questions are perfectly fine.

Personally, I would not have expected their answers and I would probably have asked again just to make sure I did not misunderstand their answer and then I might have left the interview early. But that's not on you. The questions are very reasonable and the fact that I think their answers are ridiculous just shows that actually asking them and getting the answer is quite important.

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  • No, there was no misunderstanding. It's not so unusual for branch offices of East Asian companies to open late because they need to have teleconferences with their head office. But the problem is how often. If once a month, that's good. If once a week, that's okay. The company that I interviewed yesterday said daily. The good thing is they said it's okay to work from home in the evening and night. The bad thing is it's likely that there would be no definite end time of work hours. – blob May 12 at 21:04
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    Well, see, that's why it's good to ask. For me for example, if someone says there's 2 hours unpaid overtime per day I will probably laugh. That might be impolite, but asking me to work 10 hours per week for free is more than just impolite. It's insulting. Having to work late is one thing, having to work late in addition to your job, unpaid sounds ridiculous to me. But maybe not to others. So asking those questions is good and necessary. – nvoigt May 12 at 21:33

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